By Cheryl Rodewig, The BayonetJune 13, 2009
B Company, 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment, was among the first units on Sand Hill to complete the new mounted react to contact live fire June 1 and Tuesday.
During the exercise, Soldiers in four humvees had to respond to an IED, dismount to pull security and pursue the enemy. The Soldiers and opposing force used high-speed paint ammunition during the scenario-driven event.
The training event reflects the current theater of operations better than the convoy live fire, which has been phased out of basic training on Sand Hill, said CPT Tim Leone, company commander for B Co., 2nd Bn., 58th Inf. Regt.
"This battle drill is exactly how we would do it," said Leone, who returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq last year. "(The convoy live fire) taught them how to fire from a moving platform, kind of like a drive by, but that isn't what we would do. If you take contact from an IED, you wouldn't just push through and pretend it didn't happen. You would stop and react to that contact. That's what this event is training. Our biggest threat in today's environment is IEDs, so perfecting this battle drill is crucial."
PV2 Jarrod Griffy said the more real-world scenario training he completes, the better prepared he will be for "the real thing" when he deploys.
"(It) makes you think on your feet, makes you more prepared for those situations," he said. "We got hit by a scenario IED, and it got pretty chaotic with all the gunshots. It makes it more realistic when you know that you could actually get hit and that they do hurt. We didn't have a drill sergeant right next to us. We had to think on our own."
Griffy said the exercise taught him the importance of communication. Staying in contact helps limit and control the chaos, he said.
"I had seven men under me and if I didn't know where they were or what they were doing, that's not good," he said. "Communication made sure I know where they were going, what they were doing, when they were moving, so we didn't cross paths and so we could take out the enemy."
In a situation like the one given, there are many moving parts, so staying focused is important, said SGT Andres Gutierrez, a reclassified Infantryman in charge of about a dozen Soldiers during the exercise.
Although Gutierrez encountered two IEDs with his convoy in Iraq, he still learned from the live fire, he said.
"The support role is a lot different," said Gutierrez, who formerly worked with the Chemical Corps. "From the support side, we would mainly stay in our trucks. When you're leading Infantrymen, you're actually leading guys who are moving through contact. You have to keep an idea of who's on your left, who's on your right and making sure everybody's moving together. More than likely, I will be going to a leadership position at my next brigade, so this has given me good leadership experience."
The Soldiers completed the mounted react to contact live fire in their ninth week of training.
They will graduate Wednesday.